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South shore lobster fishery to open Saturday with decision on start day for southwestern tip of the province to be made Thursday morning

2017 dumping day in southwestern NS got off to a start the early morning of Nov. 28. This was the scene in Pinkney's Point, Yarmouth County NS. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
2017 dumping day in southwestern NS. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

YARMOUTH, N.S. – The opening of the lobster fishery on the province’s south shore will be Saturday at 7 a.m. but it going to take one more day to confirm when the opening will be on the southwestern tip of the province.

In a 9 a.m. conference call in LFA 33 – which spans from Shelburne County to Halifax County – the decision was confirmed that the season will start on Saturday at 7 a.m.

In an 8 a.m. Wednesday LFA 34 conference call, the decision was to hold off on making a final decision until a 7 a.m. Thursday conference call to see if a Friday start is a possibility. If not the season will start on Saturday here too.

LFA 34 includes all of Yarmouth County and parts of Digby and Shelburne counties.

Bernie Berry of Coldwater Lobster Association, one of the reps on the Wednesday morning LFA 34 call, says there were some port reps who wanted to see one more day of weather forecast models before making the final call on the season’s start.

Light winds are forecasted for Saturday are there are differing forecast models for Friday, depending on if you’re looking at the American or Canadian models.

“Some of the models are all over the place,” Berry said, with some saying that winds will be diminishing later Friday morning to 10-15 knots. And so there were reps who wanted to look at the weather once more before making the final determination for dumping day.

“So it’s a no-go time yet,” he said.

High winds were still being forecasted in LFA 33 on Friday.

Another consideration and factor, Berry said, is sea states as there is still a fair amount of wind forecasted for Thursday night heading into Friday. Berry said holding off on making a decision is not a confirmation that it will be a Friday start, rather the reps just want one more day of weather forecasts to decide on Friday or Saturday.

He said there have been times in the past when the two districts opened on different days but it doesn’t happen very often.

“It's happened maybe two or three times in the past 30 years,” he said.

Regardless of which days the season starts, search and rescue assets will be tasked in the regions as safety is a top priority for the fishery and dumping day, with boats loaded with traps and gear, is seen as the most risky day of the six-month season.

The season normally gets underway the final Monday of November. Due to regions of the fishing district that had higher winds than others on Monday, the decision had been not to start the season on Nov. 26. The weather forecasted for mid-week caused reps to eye a week’s end start to the season instead.

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